Category: News

Daniel Hartmann’s NFL Week 9 Watchability Rankings

So this a new blog for me. I am going to start ranking the games each week in order of how exciting the game will be to watch. So if all these games were played at the same time, on different channels, these are the order of how I would watch them. Three rules. Number One: Matchups matter. So Offense vs. Defense, Receiver vs. Corner, Left tackle vs. pass rush all matter. Number Two: Star power matters. I’d rather watch a hobbled Russell Wilson than Nick Foles any day. And Number three: Playoff implication matters. Two teams fighting for the playoffs is more fun than two teams fighting for the number one pick. Without further ado, here are the rankings from worst to first.

Blake Bortles is no fun to watch at all. Last year this would have been much better. But this year, the jaguars have turned into the plain garbage time team. They do nothing else all game. Jalen Ramsey turns heads, but still. The Chiefs are getting more fun, but Alex Smith could be slowed, Spencer Ware may not play, and the Chiefs rely on the horizontal pass game a bit too much. Travis Kelce is good, and Marcus Peters could always take one back, but this should be a boring game.

Russell Wilson is hurt. His line sucks. His running game is nonexistent. The only saving graces there are Jimmy Graham doing Jimmy Graham things, and the L.O.B. The Bills are led by Lesean McCoy… who’s hurt. Tyrod Taylor won’t be fun when he gets stopped by Bobby Wagner on every play. Luckily, the Bills defense is getting healthier, and Marcell Dareus is back and beastly. There’s just not enough here to make me interested.

If this was an unintentional comedy contest, this game would rank much higher. Ryan Fitzpatrick will sail a few throws and get stared down by his receivers. Matt Forte is a guy who thinks he’s a bowling ball, but is actually a pin ball. And all of a sudden, the Jets decide they want to play a top-five defensive tackle at linebacker. Jay Ajayi single handedly pulls this game higher, as does a suddenly impressive Dolphins line, but that’s not enough to make up for the Jets total unwatchability.
10) SAINTS AND 49ERS- If this was the 49ers of a couple years ago, versus the Saints of Drew Brees prime, this would be a lot better. As it is, Colin Kaepernick doesn’t do what he used to, the 49ers defense is just horrible, and the run game gets no push. The Saints have Drew Brees throwing to about 12 different options, and some of them can be exciting. But the defense doesn’t force any turnovers, and the offense commits too many. A win here pushes the Saints back into the playoff conversation, and that’s the only reason this game ranks higher than some of the games below it.

I wanted to rank this game higher than I did. I really tried and originally I had this game slotted in at number six. The positives? Matthew Stafford is playing extremely well. His receivers are excelling in the possession game. Jim Bob Cooter has a great name. The Vikings defense is scary because of their propensity for turnovers, and because of that it should be able to pin their ears back and get after Stafford in this one too. But something here just feels off. I don’t know whether it’s the stink of the Viking’s offensive line, or the horrible Lions secondary. There’s just an odd feeling that this game is going to fall flat against its high expectations. The playoff seeding race improves the ranking, but not by much.
8) PANTHERS AND RAMS- This game ranks this highly solely because of the star power and positional matchups. Cam Newton. Luke Keuchly. Arron Donald. Todd Gurley. Those names alone will make people tune in. Not to mention those stars play opposite sides of the ball in direct competition with each other. Keuchly will be tasked with slowing up Gurley all afternoon, while Donald is going to be breathing down Newton’s neck from first quarter to fourth. The other intriguing thing is how weaknesses matchup in this game. The Panthers have a poor pass rush, the Rams have a poor line. The Panthers have a bad secondary, the Rams have weak receivers. One team is going to have to make a weakness a strength in this one. If this game had better playoff implications, it would rank above the next game on this list.

Cleveland is a lot more fun to watch than people realize. I joined their bandwagon this year even though they’re still winless. Terrelle Pryor is a monster at wide receiver. Duke Johnson and Isiah Crowell are a fun tandem in the backfield. Oh, and Jamie Collins gives them a legitimate difference maker on defense. And the Browns score highly in the unintentional comedy category because of their quarterback situation. The Cowboys are fun because of Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott’s assault on the league in their rookie seasons. The defense doesn’t do much outside of Sean Lee, but the offense makes up for it. This game is dragged down because the Browns are so far out of playoff race.
6) STEELERS AND RAVENS- A rivalry game can only get you so far in these rankings. If Ben Roethlisberger plays and looks healthy, this ranking is going to be low. Landry Jones just doesn’t bring the same kind of fun to a game. There’s that, and the fact that the Ravens are just boring this year. I bet 95% of people outside of Baltimore could not name more than five players on the Ravens excluding Joe Flacco. Mike Wallace can go deep, and Steve Smith is grumpy and mean, so that’s fun. On the other side, Leveon Bell is amazing. Antonio Brown is electric. And Sammie Coates will either drop three passes right off his hands, or catch two 90 yard touchdown passes. There is no in between with him. The Ravens looking to end a losing streak, and both teams fighting for playoff positioning raises this ranking considerably.

This game ranks this high for one reason, and one reason only. The quarterbacks are studs. I mean, I guess you could say that Green Bay has a decent defense. Or maybe that T.Y. Hilton is a stud at receiver. Or maybe even Frank Gore is fun to watch as the slowest running back in the league. But being completely honest, everyone should be hoping this game scores 80 points combined. And it actually might. Three weeks ago, people were worried about bashing Aaron Rodgers for not putting up his typical passing totals. Where are those people now? Rodgers is Green Bay. There’s no one else. The same thing is happening in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck at least has Hilton, but that’s it. His defense might be objectively the worst defense in football. The star power in this game elevates this one to the top five, as does the fact that Green Bay needs a win badly to stay near Dallas in the standings.

Playoff positioning. Star power. Matchup contrasts. Positional battles. This game has it all. A loss all but assures that the Chargers won’t stay in the playoff picture, while a win keeps them in desperation mode. The Titans are wholly inconsistent, but they are squarely in the race in the AFC South and looking better each week. Star power? Phillip Rivers has to be a dark horse in the MVP conversation. Demarco Murray is front runner for the Comeback Player of the Year. Jatavis Brown and Joey Bosa are near the top of the Defensive Rookie of the Year listings. Plus Melvin Ingram, Marcus Mariots, and Jurrell Casey all bring their massive skillsets to the game. The two teams are extremely different. The Chargers are the high flying offense with the speedy defense. The Titans are ground and pound on offense, and smash-mouth, in-your-face on defense. I wanted to rank this game top three, but the next game on the list edged it because of the potential for rivalry sparks.

I like this game a lot for both teams. They matchup pretty well on both sides of the ball, and they’re both fighting for playoff positioning this week as well. Fletcher Cox is a monster on the Eagles defensive line, and Brandon Graham is always a threat to lay a monster hit on someone. Same with Rodney Mcleod. On the other side, Ryan Matthews is a jitterbug, and Carson Wentz does rookie things that make watching him interesting. The Giants still have Eli Manning throwing crazy amounts of yards. OBJ is always entertaining, and he has the unintentional comedy category on lock. Plus these two teams just flat out don’t like each other, which makes picking the winner a chore. Both teams are 4-3, and they both need a win to stay in their respective division races. The other games just have better matchups or contrasts for the week.

Yes, I may be a tad biased in ranking this game so highly. But I’m a sucker for storylines and for offensive shootouts. The Falcons are trying to rid themselves of their past collapses, and improve on their NFC South leading record. The Buccaneers are the team that is consistently on the short side of the stick, and can’t find a way to win. They could easily be 5-2 with a bit more focus. But the main reason to watch this game is the offense. Oh, the offense. Matt Ryan leads the league in passing, while Julio Jones is second in receiving. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are the best running back tandem in the league when healthy. The Falcons can hang 50 on someone any given day. The Buccaneers counter with the biggest loose cannon in the league. Jameis Winston made a throw two weeks ago that went 70 yards through the air. Granted, it went 10 yards too far, but it was still impressive. Jacquizz Rodgers has decided that he doesn’t want to give up his starting spot. And finally, Mike Evans is back to looking like the stud he was two years ago. If the Buccaneers want to stay semi-close in this one, it’ll be because Evans has a monster game. Either way, it should be a shootout.

This game is by far the best game of the week. It has everything you could want in a football game. The winner of this one keeps first place in the AFC West, and will be the two seed in the AFC. The loser falls to 6-3, and will most likely fall behind Kansas City for third place. The good news is that both teams should be able to pull off a playoff spot at the end of the year. You want a contrast in styles? The Raiders might well have the best offense in the league, the Broncos are statistically and objectively the top defense in the league. The Raiders have no defense, the Broncos have no offense. And the specific player matchups? Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree versus Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. Shane Ray and Von Miller against Donald Penn and Vadal Alexander. Khalil Mack versus Ty Sambraillo. David Carr versus… well okay Trevor Semien. But still. The game is played in prime time, and should provide plenty of sparks and bad blood for a rivalry that is destined to take off and restore the division to its glory days.

10/28/16 SIU Women’s Volleyball vs Bradley University

by Claire Patri

The Salukis women’s volleyball team challenged the Bradley Braves from Peoria, Ill Oct. 29 at
7p.m. Head Coach Carol Price-Torok geared her team toward better defense against star Salukis
player Alex Rosignol. Middle hitter Rosignol from Mount Carmel, Ill., come out strong for the
kill. Setter Hannah Kaminsky from Woodridge, Ill., with the kill following in the next set play.
Rossignol again with another kill with great fierceness on the court in their formation to stay
organized and structured to produce a score. Outside hitter Abby Barrow out of Metamora, Ill.,
opens with a kill. Brave Erin Olson had her first serve, SIU returned it over the net with a out of
bounds kill that gained Bradley a point. Olson serves making SIU struggling to keep ball in the
air with a eventual tip over the net for a point. The middle of court proved to be a weak spot for
the Salukis because it was wide open for the ball to land for a opponent point. The Braves took
advantage of this weakness, but the Salukis seemed to quickly close this team formation gap to
protect their score momentum. Rosignol with the serve, 3-4, then tied 4-4 with a out of bounds
by Bradley. Middle hitter Kolby Meeks showed she is definitely a vital part of the Salukis team
as she kills many shots of the night. SIU setter Alayna Martin with the serve, ending in a Brave
kill. A Lot of Brave determination and heart demonstrated, striving to regain the ball in the air.
SIU outside hitter Andrea Estrada with the kill while the score is 8-7. Outside hitter Mariana
Pilon showed heart, upon a serve from Brave Kelsey Cave ending in a point for SIU. Pilon with
the serve, Braves return a out of bounds which gave SIU a point.

There was nice back and forth returns continuously throughout the match, full of passion for the
points accumulated on the scoreboard. Kaminsky and Estrada definitely showed teamwork that
night as they just wanted to play the game for the game. Braves are tough battle because they
have heart to produce a point. The Braves call there first time out at 19-14 in the first set. SIU
win first set.

Kaminsky opened second set with a serve, SIU and Braves fight for a score and Braves end up
getting first point of this set. Brave Erica Haslag who had the most kills for the Braves at 9. She
served, ending in a point for SIU. Barrow with serve and a point gain for the Braves. Estrada and
Meeks kill consistently throughout this match showing their determination and love for the
volleyball sport on their home court. Outside hitter Shannon Hagen and Nellie Fredriksson who
had the second most kills with 11, both also showed heart to produce a second set win 25-12.
Barrow had the most kills at 14 on the attack. She opened the third set with a easy dominated
kill. Fredriksson and Rosignol both produce kills consistently against Brave defense. Brave
Hanna Alexander with the serve, ending in a SIU return, Brave return, SIU return and Braves
return with a out of bounds kill ending in point for SIU. This was a recurring situation of both
teams going back and forth across the net and neither team gaining a point because of the others
out of bound kill. Meeks was on the net with a couple tip overs to get sneaky points on the
scoreboard as Barrow gave powerful kills from the side of the court. The Salukis ended this set
with a win 17-25.

The first set had 17, second set had 18 and the third set had 16 kills for the Salukis. The set
scores were with SIU at 3 and Bradley with 0.

10/27/16 SIU Women’s Basketball vs William Woods University

by Claire Patri
The Salukis women’s basketball team encountered the challenge of achieving a win against the
William Woods Owls at 6p.m. in SIU Arena this past Oct. 27. Named the 10th head coach in
Southern Illinois women’s basketball history in 2013, Cindy Stein prepared the Salukis for the
Owl defense, showing elements of teamwork and focus on a point gain. SIU players Oliva
Bowling out of New Haven, Ky., Kristen Nelson out of Farmington Hills, Mich., and Kim Nebo
out of Katy, Texas were some of the couple starting five lineup against Owls Bailey Rollins from
Windsor, Mo., Jasmine Brown from Georgetown, S.C., and Jess Schmidt from St. Charles, Mo.
that fall night. The first quarter opened with teamwork, hustle and execution by SIU who
challenged the athleticism performed by Owl Peyton Greenlee out of Marshfield, Mo. There
followed aggressive play by Owl Gebke at the ball net, as her team looked for their first point
shot in a while with a timeout called with 4 minutes left with the Salukis ahead 16-2. Owl
Greenlee’s determination was shown with 3 minutes left, 18-5 SIU. With SIU team’s second
team foul already accumulated of the first quarter, Salukis guard and forward Tiajaney Hawkins
from the east side of Chicago shots a 3 point shot bringing the score to 21-7 with Crawson
bringing the ball up the court again for another 2 point gain for SIU. Throughout the start of the
first half there were ball steals by SIU from the Owls, struggling to gain ball possession at a fast
pace with 23-9 with SIU fourth team foul. Owl Kennedy Volkart gets 3 point shot as Saluki
Lauren Hartman gains the rebound ending in the first quarter total 26-11.

The second quarter havey teamwork performed by William Woods to gain a point. With a foul,
Owl Lexy Ganaway receives her first personal. Salukis Brittany Patrick out of Bolingbrook, Ill.
demonstrated her leadership and defense being strong on her feet. Owl Gebke also shows her
team leadership, gaining a 2 point score for her team 47-28. She then takes the drive, comes up
short and the ball was taken away by SIU. Owl Bethany Bloss with a nice rebound. SIU has nice
passing among the Owls defense strategy. They take their official time out at 51-36 with a air
ball follow the conclusion of the third quarter at 51-40.

Hawkins with the rebound as there is a second time-out with 30-14 and 4 minutes left on the time
clock still in the first half. Nebo knocks in another point for SIU at 37-16 with Owls slacking
behind as a third time out was called with one minute left. Salukis win 11-11 in the second

Opens the third quarter with a 2 pointer showing great teamwork and trust for each others ability
to execute a shot. There was a tip away by the Owls, SIU grabs ending in Bowling earning her
first personal foul. During this quarter, SIU and Owls get a little more aggressive. A lot of
dysfunction, fumbles seen by Owl defense ending in not much points. Salukis guard Kylie
Giebelhausen out of East Peoria, Ill. takes her time to execute a point gain. Under a minute,
attempted pass gains SIU with the ball and aggressive finish. 74-57 is the score with SIU having
a very dominant game. Owl Brown under pressure gets help from Gebke with 50 secs left to go
ending with Bowling earning another personal foul. Number 18 has good drive and execution
with SIU Carlie Corrigan out of Plainfield, Ill. regaining a rebound from Owls as guard and
forward Caitlyn Claussen out of Manhattan, Kan. wide-open for a gain under 10 secs left in the
third quarter.

Beginning the last quarter strong and fast pace as SIU does trick moves, fake passes to confuse
Owl defense. Corrigan had nice hustle and determination performance as Salukis Nicole Martin
earns the rebound and gets a point for SIU. Owl Bailey Rollins out of Windsor, Mo. executes
points for Owls at score 64-47. Brown showed nice drive, speed down the court to get points
although getting her first personal foul pushing off Martin. There was an official time out called
after both teams hustle for the ball ending up out of bounds with under 4 minutes left. This game
ended with a Salukis win 42-60 overall.

Daniel Hartmann’s NFL Week 7 Picks

BEARS (1-5) AT PACKERS (3-2)
Yes, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have looked just a bit off lately. But they’re still better than the Bears. Brian Hoyer has looked good, but he can’t do it by himself. If Jordan Howard gets shut down, the Bears have no chance in this one, even with Eddie Lacy out for the Packers. The score will look better for the Bears than the game actually goes.
FINAL: Packers 24- Bears 17

GIANTS (3-3) At RAMS (3-3) in London
Eli manning and OBJ should decimate a bad Rams secondary. Janoris Jenkins would be helpful for the Rams in this one. Too bad he plays for the Giants. Jenkins will draw Kenny Britt in this one, while Trumaine Johnson draws Beckham. Jenkins wins his matchup, Johnson doesn’t. That’s the difference in this one.
FINAL: Giants 31- Rams 27

COLTS (2-4) AT TITANS (3-3)

The Titans won last week by airing it out. They don’t have to this week. Demarco Murray should further his Comeback Player of the Year candidacy with a dominate game against a bad Colts defense. Andrew Luck will be playing from behind early.
FINAL: Titans 34- Colts 24

SAINTS (2-3) AT CHIEFS (3-2)
Defensive score alert! Tight end sweep alert! Two of the most creative coaches in the NFL face off, with plenty of momentum on both sides. I just think the Chiefs ball control offense gives them a good chance of keeping Brees and co. off the field. Plus Marcus Peters is pretty good at this whole cornerback thing. No big plays for Brandin Cooks in this one.
FINAL: Chiefs 21- Saints 17

No quarterback in the NFL is playing better than Matthew Stafford right now. Jim Bob Cooter has the best name in NFL, and he’s good at his job too. But Kirk Cousins has turned back the clock to last year. With a decent ground game finally showing up for the Redskins, Cousins can throw over the top to Desean Jackson, or underneath to Jamison Crowder. The Lions just don’t have enough defensive weapons to keep the Redskins from running up the score.
FINAL: Redskins 30- Lions 21

This is sad. Huge game for two young teams. I love the Jaguars game, but the Raiders are just better on offense. This could be the highest scoring game of the week if Blake Bortles can avoid his normal mistakes. The Raiders defense is just terrible, but Khalil Mack puts himself back on the map with a huge game. He is the difference in this one.
FINAL: Raiders 45- Jaguars 41

I’m on the Browns bandwagon. It won’t manifest itself in a win this week, but the Browns look better each week. Did you see what Danny Shelton did to Demarco Murray last week? And Cody Kessler looks good too. The Bengals are just better. They’re not the Super Bowl contender of years past, but still. The Browns put up a fight, but AJ Green is unstoppable here.
FINAL: Bengals 24- Browns 14

Carson Wentz finally looked like a rookie last week against the Redskins. Unfortunately for him, he now faces the best defense in the NFL. The Vikings look better and better each week, and Sam Bradford has the offense humming. The Eagles don’t have the firepower to make the Vikings sweat.
FINAL: Vikings 27- Eagles 18

RAVENS (3-3) AT JETS (1-5)

Geno Smith is the starting quarterback for the Jets. That’s all the analysis you need.
FINAL: Ravens 20- Jets 13

The Bills are one of the two or three hottest teams in the NFL right now. The Dolphins are coming off a major upset of the Steelers and found their running back of the future in Jay Ajayi. Shady should have running room no matter where he looks. Bills run over the Dolphins.
FINAL: Bills 28- Dolphins 17

The Falcons were cheated out of a win last week in Seattle, and their offense is one of the league’s best. Jatavis Brown looks good in the middle of the Chargers defense, but without their top corner, no one is going to slow down Julio Jones. Hunter Henry and Phillip Rivers make this a game, but the Falcons are out for blood.
FINAL: Falcons 38- Chargers 31

BUCCANEERS (2-3) AT 49ERS (1-5)
Kaepernick wasn’t enough last week, and he’s not going to be enough this week. The Bucs come off the bye week missing Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, and Charles Sims. Luckily for Jameis Winston he still has Mike Evans and his massive frame. The 49ers don’t have someone to slow down Evans over the top, Brate in the middle, and Humphries underneath. Poor 49ers.
FINAL: Buccaneers 31- 49ERS 14

No Big Ben means no chance for the Steelers, even with their plethora of weapons. Brady is back, Gronk is healthy, Bennett is a monster, and James White is the new Kevin Faulk. Patriots win big.
FINAL: Patriots 45- Steelers 24


The Cardinals are looking dangerous again. They have weapons all over the field, and David Johnson is one of the top two or three running backs in the NFL. The Seahawks have Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and the big bad ‘backers to chase down Johnson and shut down Fitzgerald. Seahawks pull one out on the road.
FINAL: Seahawks 21- Cardinals 20

Denver showed a couple cracks against the Falcons two weeks ago, and looked bad last week too. Meanwhile, the Texans finally got some return on their investment in Brock Osweiler. It helped that Lamar Miller flashed greatness, and opened some holes, but still. I just don’t see Denver losing at home with Trevor Semien back to almost healthy.
FINAL- Broncos 24- Texans 20